It is commonly assumed that there are differences in physicians’ and caregivers’ ethical attitudes towards clinical situations. The assumption is that the difference is driven by different values, views and judgements in specific situations. At Aalborg University Hospital, Denmark, we aimed to investigate these assumptions by conducting a large quantitative study. The study design, based on the Factorial Survey Method, was a carefully constructed survey with 50 questions designed to test which factors influenced the respondents’ ethical reasoning. The factors were clustered into three categories of ethical reasoning and values. The categories were formulated in terms of easily recognizable ethical positions: consequential ethics, deontological ethics and relational ethics. Based on 2129 respondents, we found significant support for the assumption of differences between physicians and caregivers. The group of caregivers favoured the relational ethics view in clinical ethical situations, and the group of physicians favoured the position of deontological ethics.
- Clinical ethics
- professional ethics in medicine
- professional ethics in nursing
- quantitative study